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Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs NFL Draft Position Analysis: Wide Receiver

Published:

The Buccaneers have six selections, including the No. 7 overall pick, in the 2014 NFL draft, to be held Thursday-Sunday at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Tampa Bay has one pick in each of the seven rounds, except the fourth - that pick was sent to the New York Jets to complete the 2013 trade for CB Darrelle Revis. For eight consecutive days, The Tampa Tribune will analyze the team’s needs at specific positions.

This was an area of great need even before the Bucs traded Mike Williams, their former No. 2 wideout, to the Bills in April. With Williams gone, the team has little choice but to address this position in the draft. The good news is the talent pool at the receiver spot is believed to be extremely deep, with potential starting-caliber players available perhaps as late as the fourth round. What the Bucs want more than anything here is speed. Coach Lovie Smith says that is a commodity the Bucs sorely lack.

On the Bucs roster

NFL

Player Ht. Wt. Age seasons

Skye Dawson 5-9 183 23 1

Lavelle Hawkins 5-11 194 27 6

Vincent Jackson 6-5 230 31 9

Louis Murphy 6-2 200 26 5

Chris Owusu 6-0 196 24 2

Eric Page 5-10 180 22 1

Russell Shepard 6-1 195 23 1

Tommy Streeter 6-5 215 25 1

Remaining NFL free agents

NFL

Player Ht. Wt. Age seasons

Santonio Holmes 5-11 192 30 8

Danario Alexander 6-5 217 25 4

Miles Austin 6-2 216 29 8

Dream pick

Sammy Watkins, Clemson

What excites scouts most about Watkins is his ability to do all the little things so well. He follows his blockers, uses sharp footwork at the line of scrimmage to break free of press coverage and runs and sets up his routes like a seasoned veteran. He also has big, soft hands and seems to know how to work the soft spots in zones. Watkins is fast, but not super fast. And at 6-foot-1, 211 pounds, he has only adequate size. Still, he’s an intense competitor bent on being the best in the business and should make an impact right away.

Hidden gem

Martavis Bryant, Clemson

A lot of scouts went to Clemson games to see Watkins and came away wowed by his teammate, Bryant. At 6-foot-4 and with 4.4-second 40-yard dash times at the combine, Bryant has a rare blend of elite-level height and speed. He’s a straight-line burner with long arms and the skill set to be a big-play threat, but at 211 pounds he is a little lean. He doesn’t have a lot of experience running routes other than go routes, but he could prove to be a second-day steal.

Bucs history

This is an area where the Bucs have struggled to find good fits on draft day. Jacquez Green, Reidel Anthony and Michael Clayton were first-round picks who never produced as first-rounders should. The team did nab Mike Williams in the fourth round four years ago, but Williams was traded after a disappointing, injury-plagued 2013 and a problem-filled offseason. The Bucs’ poor history here has forced them to lean on free agency to find quality wideouts, but their current lack of superior talent suggests they haven’t done a good job of that, either.

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